Okay, just to get this out of the way, there will be an attempt at a liveblog tomorrow evening. I say attempt, because the system has changed. For the past several years, I have used Cover-it-Live for liveblogs. This spring, CiL moved to a pay system. And boy do they want you to pay. If I have the numbers roughed out, it would cost somewhere north of $750 a year to run it with the present readership.
So, I’m going to give a new service a go, called Cbox. I’ll have it posted tomorrow afternoon.
I keep telling myself there is no time to dwell on the YSU game, then I start thinking about how slow the team looked on Saturday. I hope the slowness is because the players were hesitating. Still getting acclimated to the new system, the verbiage, their assignments, etc. Coach Chryst is all about the hesitancy view.
On the major issues he saw with the defensive performance Saturday night:
“I thought tackling. We tackled quite a bit in fall camp and I thought guys played a little bit hesitant. Also I really do think Youngstown State executed their offense pretty well. Their running back, I loved how he runs and knew that on film. I think the tackling…we had some opportunities that could have changed the sticks. Not hitting clean and one pressure, we don’t impact that, so there are certain areas. That’s the great thing, it really was, that at the end of that game we all could take ownership in it (the loss) and that there are areas we all can get better at. That’s good, that’s tangible, it’s on film. This is something we can do better at here. You hope to make the most improvement from game one to two and we certainly need to. There are things that we can focus on.”
Yes, and the tackling. I kept muttering, “Tackle, don’t hit,” during the game that I started having Paul Rhoads flashbacks. Apparently that is now part of the “back to basics” of practice this week.
One of the themes for the Cincy game will be Cam Saddler’s nephew and the brother of DeJuan Blair on the other side of the ball.
The target will be Cincinnati senior middle linebacker Greg Blair, who is more than just another faceless opponent. He is Saddler’s nephew. Saddler’s sister Shari is Blair’s mother.
“He doesn’t stand a chance,” Saddler said. “I can talk about his uncle, I can talk about his grandma, I can talk about his mom, and I can’t get in trouble for it.”
Blair, a graduate of Schenley High School and the brother of former Pitt basketball star DeJuan Blair of the San Antonio Spurs, said the game is more than just an opportunity to play against an uncle who also was a childhood friend.
“It’s going to be really special,” he said. “But it’s not about who I’m going against. It’s about my first start. It’s going to be a great opportunity to show the world who I am.
DeJuan Blair is supposed to be at the game, and Greg Blair swears he will be wearing Cinci colors.
Tickets still available for the 35,000 seat Nippert stadium. Granted, a chunk of that may have to do with Pitt reportedly using only 89 of 2500 tickets allotted. Still.
The final game in the River City Rivalry. Cinci, unsurprisingly, wouldn’t mind seeing the series continue. Good luck with that.
UC athletic director Whit Babcock said he would entertain finding a way to continue the series.
“I don’t know that that would be at the top of our radar screen but I would never shut the door on it,” Babcock said, “whether it was basketball, football or any of our sports. I think that’s a good rivalry but we have not engaged in any conversations about that.”
For now, the UC players simply want to make sure they win their last game against Pitt, even their Big East series and hold onto that trophy.
“That trophy will have a chance to either stay here or go to Pittsburgh,” said quarterback Munchie Legaux. “We want it to stay here.”
I want Pitt, to win, but I don’t want that monstrosity to go back to the ‘Burgh. Presumably to be placed in the same closet as the CBI Championship trophy.
Cinci Coach Butch Jones is playing down Pitt’s loss as a bit of fluke.
“Those things happen,” Jones said of Pitt’s upset loss. “But I can go by my previous experience of playing Pittsburgh. I know they’ll be ready to go. They’re an extremely talented football team. They have our attention. They have our respect.”